Sultanpur National Park became a national park in 1991. It is located in the Gurgaon district of Haryana.
A haven for bird watchers, the place was announced as a Ramsar Wetland on May 25, 2021. The Ramsar Site is a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Conventions. This important wetland has also been declared as a World Heritage Site and got the distinction of being included under the World Heritage Convention.
History of the Place
Sultanpur National Park is named after Chauhan Rajput raja Sultan Singh Chauhan. Raja Sultan Singh Chauhan captured Sultanpur in 1474 from Vikram Samwat after wresting it from Similar Muslims.
Sultanpur was the biggest village under Farrukhnagar and many present-day villages around. This place covered 52,000 bighas of land. The region around Sultanpur was named Dhundhoti.
Sultanpur was the major center of salt production in Delhi and the United Provinces of British India until the late 19th century.
Peter Michael Jackson played a vital role in the establishment of Bird Sanctuary. He was an ornithologist and honorary secretary of the Delhi Bird Watching Society. He wrote a letter to then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1970 asking her to announce the Sultanpur Jheel near Delhi as Bird Sanctuary.
Then in 1972, this place was declared as a bird sanctuary. In July 1991, the place was upgraded to a National Park. The park is also named Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary after a famous Indian ornithologist and naturalist. It is a tribute to his miscellaneous efforts in nature conservation.
Access to the Sultanpur National Park
Visitors are required to pay an INR 5.00 entry fee and show an identity card to visit Sultanpur National Park. The nearest railway station suited here is Gurgaon Railway Station. For air travel, the nearest airport located is the Indira Gandhi International Airport. It is only 45 away in Delhi at IGI Airport. The tourists can de-board themselves to reach the sanctuary within 20 minutes.
Topography of Area
Sultanpur National Park covers 352 acres of land. Of this, 180 acres are part of a water body. The maximum temperature of Sultanpur park is 44 degrees celcius and the minimum is 1.5 degrees celcius. Sultanpur National Park now has a 1.37 m perimeter wall with a 1.98m iron chain link. The major area of the wetland comprises vast alluvial and sandy tracts of recent to sub-recent age. The alluvium found here is of khadar type, which is light-colored and is rich in concretions and nodules of impure calcium carbonate known as kankar.
Geology of Area
The area is spread over the parameter of 1.43 sq km. which comprises about 3.62% of the state’s geographical area. According to the geographical coordinate system, this place is located at 28.4623N 76.8899E.GCS.
Hydrology of the Land
The Sultanpur Jheel is a seasonal freshwater wetland with varying water levels throughout the year.
This shallow lake is primarily fed by waters from River Yamuna’s Gurgaon canal and the overflowing waters of the neighboring agricultural lands. The lake and the marshes flood during the monsoon seasons and become hardly dry during the summer season. This bird sanctuary is ideal for birding and bird watchers. A large number of migratory birds visit this during the winter season.
Sultanpur National Park has the typical North Indian climate of harsh summers (up to 46C) and cold winters (low of up to 9C). The rainy season is short, from July to the end of August.
The vegetation of this park is tropical and dry deciduous. The flora here include grasses, dock, khair, tendu, ber, Jamun, banyan tree, neem, berberis, Acacia nilotica, and Acacia tortilis.
Every year more than 100 migratory bird species are seen around here during the winter season.
Migratory species arrive in this park since their homeland in Europe, Siberia, and Central Asia becomes inhabitable due to cold temperature, snow-covered ground, and frozen lakes. Migratory birds start arriving in the park in September. Birds use the park as a resting place till the following March-April.
The sanctuary provides a picturesque panorama of migratory birds including Siberian cranes, Greater flamingo, Rough, Black-winged stilt, Common Teal, Common Greenshank, Northern pintail, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Northern Shoveller, and Rosy Pelican.
Some of the resident birds in this Sultanpur Sanctuary are Common Hoopoe, Paddy field Pipit, Purple Sunbird, Little Cormorant, Pigeons, Indian Myna, Eurasian thick-knee, Gray francolin black francohomelandan, Painted Stork, White Ibis, Snow- ibis, Little regret, Great regret, Cattle weret, and India crested lark.
During summer and monsoon months, many local bird species inhabit the park. A total of around 250 bird species have been reported in the park.
Islands in the Lake
The park contains Typha and Phragmites around the lake. This lake features seasonal underwater vegetation and is dotted with artificial islands. The Park also includes open grasslands.
In 2010, the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change announced the area within five kilometers of the Park as an eco-sensitive zone. The lake is dotted by reeds, aquatic plants, and some recently created mud pits in the water.
Economic Evaluation of the Lake’s Resources
Sultanpur National Park is essentially a bird watcher’s paradise with few trees obscuring the visitor’s view of the lake. This place was the most remarkable place for tourism. So the fuel station, hotels, resorts, restaurants, and amusement park have been built 3km away from the place.
There are four watch towers (machans) located at different points of the park to facilitate bird-watching. In addition, there is adequate parking and facilities like toilets and drinking water.
The Educational Interpretation Center has been established here to offer proper guidance to tourists visiting the place. Due to large visits of foreigners, the local villagers were able to earn money by providing guidance, food, and travel.
The Tourist Complex built in the Park has elegant rooms equipped with modern amenities, a restaurant, and a bar.
Deterioration of the Lake Environment
This place is viewed as a hunting ground, but several enthusiasts saved this Sanctuary.
Most of the lands around this area don’t have solid waste management. Tube wells are used here to take the groundwater from the land. It will affect the water level of the lake.
Construction and deforestation were still happening around here, even though this place was a green belt. Many people began to move into the area, building homes, cultivating crops, and establishing businesses. They were required to implement effective drainage systems, which they failed to achieve.
Most of the localities visiting this place use it as a picnic spot that disturbs the migratory birds’ natural habitat. Currently, the school is also organizing educational trips to SNP, but the children, in excitement, make so much noise, leading to the disturbance in the Park.
Haryana government has carried out several works at Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary to protect the environment. Like the construction of mounds, widening paths, and digging four tube wells.
Efforts are being made to improve vegetation in areas by planting more trees. The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram intends to start a construction and demolition waste processing unit here.
Forest department administrators said the topography and green cover would be evaluated vis-a-vis the park’s total area. This analysis will enable the department to identify the need for and the areas where tree density needs to be increased for birds.
A museum and a small library have been created at Sultanpur to inform visitors about this sanctuary.